SRSRA Retiree Resource Center
Manager: Laureen Feinman
Founded in 2014
The Retiree Resource Center (RRC) was developed in partnership with the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG) in 2014. The LSCOG provides training to the RRC volunteers for South Carolina State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) Medicare counseling accreditation; the LSCOG location is staffed by Medicare and Aging and Disability experts who are excellent sources of information for the complex issues which sometimes arise with our retirees. The LSCOG also provides the RRC with secure state protected computer access, four offices, conference rooms, and a shared reception and waiting room with handicapped accessibility throughout the facility.
Retiree Resource Center Mission
The Retiree Resource Center is a free service, and it is not licensed to sell insurance nor to promote specific insurance plans, nor does it receive any commissions from insurance providers. The RRC can, which is very important, show you how to secure the information necessary to make informed decisions, advise you of critical time restrictions, and suggest important questions you may wish to ask providers. We were founded by the SRSRA to serve you.
The Retiree Resource Center works closely with SRS, RightOpt and WageWorks, and the LSCOG, again always acting as the retirees’ advocate as a non-profit organization.
Retiree Resource Center Services
- Aging Into Medicare – Monthly Training Sessions
Very positively received, these three-hour sessions review important considerations and requirements for successful transition from the Site’s medical benefit plan to the post-65 Medicare-based Retiree plan. This training describes how your medical benefits will change, your options within Medicare, and the timing and process to enroll in Medicare and Medicare supplements using RightOpt, the contractor hired by SRS to assist retirees, and how to initiate the SRS stipend. The training includes a discussion of RightOpt enrollment procedures and options, benefit coordination issues with Tricare, PEBA and other medical plans, and how to use WageWorks to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket medical expenses. The sessions provide the sequence of events and the actions the Retiree must take to successfully transition into the post-65 Retiree Medical Plan. The RRC can also provide support and information for considering dental, vision, and other medical insurance.
We recommend scheduling your training 3-4 months before you (or your spouse) turn 65. Certain decisions you will make will be irrevocable, or at best, very difficult to change, and you will need the time to make decisions that fit your specific situation. You can enroll in the monthly session by calling or emailing the RRC.
Retirees are encouraged to bring spouses or friends along, and the facility is handicapped accessible. Your family is always welcome.
- Enrollment Support
Enrollment in a Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage plan must be completed through RightOpt in order to qualify for the SRS stipend. The enrollment selection process is lengthy involving many decisions and legally-required procedures. There are also benefit coordination issues to discuss. There is not just “one right plan” for everyone.
Many people feel more comfortable working with an RRC volunteer counselor to review options for their decision. They then call RightOpt with any final questions and to complete the enrollment process. RRC offices are equipped with computers with dual screens so you can see the same information as the volunteer counselor in reviewing options, and we have speaker phones so that we can jointly participate in the lengthy process of telephone enrollment with a RightOpt agent. Since our volunteer counselors have been through this process many times, they can be helpful in explaining your options and helping you understand the decisions and questions which the RightOpt agent must work through in order to successfully complete the enrollment.
In most cases you will also need to enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan. We can help you evaluate your options and complete the enrollment in our office if you choose to enroll here on-line directly with Medicare rather than by telephone with RightOpt. This approach provides a larger selection of plans than the limited set offered by RightOpt, and is much faster and easier. You are not required to enroll in Part D Rx Plans through RightOpt in order to receive your stipend, but you may do so.
You can set up an appointment for a one-on-one session (you are welcome to bring a spouse, family member or friend) at the end of a training session, or by calling or emailing our office. We recommend you complete the enrollment process into a plan through RightOpt at least one to two months before turning 65 to be sure all is in place for the right effective starting date. You do not want a gap in coverage.
- Benefit Coordination , Stipend Issues and Other Benefit Questions
Volunteer counselors will help you understand benefit coordination issues with plans like Tricare and PEBA, and how your choices can affect your SRS stipend. They can also direct you to the appropriate resources for pension, SIP and life insurance questions.
- Claims Submission Assistance to WageWorks
After you transition to the Retiree Plan, you will need to learn how to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses by WageWorks. The RRC can work with you to submit claims, or assist you in setting up systems where claims are filed automatically or annually, greatly reducing the burden of filing frequent small claims. WageWorks claims are filed much more efficiently through electronic means rather than mail, and we can do this in our office or show you ways to do this from home. We can assist you in obtaining the documentation needed to file a claim and will work with you, WageWorks, and providers to resolve any claims issues.
- Medicare Prescription Drug and Medicare Advantage Plan Annual Review
Prescription drug copays are the largest out-of-pocket expense for most retires so it is critical that each retiree closely examine the many options for Medicare Part D drug plans, both at initial age-65 enrollment and annually thereafter. Unlike the Medicare Supplement Plans, the Medicare Part D Rx plans can be easily changed each year. These plans have an open enrollment period every year (October 15th to December 7th) and it is very important that every retiree review their options EACH and EVERY year. Even if your drugs haven’t changed, the terms of the plans change every year – premium and deductible amounts, which drugs are covered at which level of coverage (formulary), and even what drug stores are in network or “preferred” for lower co-pays. The RRC offers these important Medicare prescription plan drug reviews every year during the open enrollment period.
Over 68% of the RRC drug reviews in the past four years have resulted in out-of-pocket savings to retirees, sometimes for thousands of dollars. The RRC process uses the medicare.gov website, which includes all licensed plans for comparative purposes.
Medicare Advantage Plans (MAP) can and should be reviewed annually, too. Most MAPs include RX coverage and the formularies (which drugs are covered at which level of coverage), premiums, deductibles, and pharmacy networks change regularly. The medical coverage in the MAP plan can also change and the doctors and medical facilities in the networks are subject to change. Unlike the medicare supplement plans, medicare advantage plans should be reviewed annually. You can schedule an appointment for a review by calling or emailing the RRC. We see many people during this period and appointments book up fast so please don’t wait until the last week to schedule an appointment.
The Retiree Resource Center is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM and you can call or email to secure an appointment.
Address: Lower Savannah Council of Governments Building
2748 Wagener Road
Aiken, SC 29801
Our counselors meet with retirees for scheduled appointments, so telephone calls go to voicemail where they are returned on a first call first return basis. You will usually receive a return call back within 48-72 hours based on our appointments and volunteer staffing. Appointments can run long due to conference calls with retirees and vendors and times on hold and online to resolve complex issues.